On Deck with George Danzelaud



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17-year-old George Danzelaud is senior class president at Lake Oswego High School. He started piano when he was four years old, and picked up the violin soon after.

In this episode of “On Deck,” George speaks with Raúl Gómez-Rojas about another one of his passions: graffiti art, as well as the importance of making mistakes, embracing failure and pushing your own limits.

When the pandemic hit, George picked up a guitar and started producing his own songs on his computer, which he has published on Apple Music and Spotify under the name “GDanz.” He is also an award-winning poet. You can hear a few of his songs, and read his poem “Go For It,” below.

George will be attending USC as a chemical engineering major, and hopes to focus his work on environment and sustainability issues, while continuing exploring music performance, production and visual art.

 

Go for It
By George Danzelaud

I inhaled a fear of failing as early as
The wailing from my lungs that echoed in the room
I emerged from the womb

My fingers were frozen in fear as I perched
In front of the black and white keys
On the keyboard
Afraid of what might be heard
If it were not for the piercing ringing of my parents’ words
Go and play
Carry through
And move ahead
Because it is our mistakes that let us grow
And my teacher of violin
Perhaps with his perfectionist tendencies
Understood mine
And knew means to help me achieve and grow from the
Barrier of the mind
And body
And heart
That faded with ongoing whispers of
Encouragement

I once felt the crispy crunch
Of rollie pollies
Swishing back and forth between my cheeks
Like squishing two ends of a balloon one at a time
Despite my pals’ horrified reactions
I tried
Was I better for it
I am not convinced
But more importantly
Fear did not dictate

In Vietnam
I negotiated with
Street vendors
Whose lives depend
On their daily catch
I pondered the ethics of bargaining

What price could I pay
What would be accepted
How would I feel about myself
If my price was not accepted
But how would I feel
If it was
The fear of what ifs
Did not stop me
I did get the watch I desired
Even if the price was higher
Than I probably could have bargained
I tried and succeeded
A win win

Twice I’ve had a first kiss
Because the first did not count
It was terrifyingly exhilarating
But I tried
And I didn’t die
In fact
I had never felt more alive

My fear of falling short parallels my angst
In attempting the unfamiliar
I have learned to venture
And to fail
Like I have learned to breathe
But trying more so
Has helped me succeed

Exploring is now more like each breath inhaled
Occurring more often
As the anxiety to try different things diminishes
I live to try like I live to respire

Holding back from the world seemed
Too easy
Until I put myself out there
What then became hard
Was turning back

 

Three original songs by George as “GDanz”:

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